U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
(505) 346-7274
July 28, 2015

Rio Rancho Man to be Transferred from Indiana to New Mexico to Face Federal Charges Arising from the Alleged Kidnapping and Transporting of a Minor in Interstate Commerce to Engage in Sexual Activity

ALBUQUERQUE—A U.S. Magistrate Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana has ordered the transfer of Joe Medina, 37, of Rio Rancho, N.M., from Indiana to New Mexico to face a criminal complaint charging him with kidnapping and transporting a minor in interstate commerce for purposes of engaging in sexual activity. The order was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 13th Judicial District Attorney Lemuel L. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division and Chief Michael Geier of the Rio Rancho Police Department (RRPD).

Medina was arrested in Indianapolis, Ind., on July 20, 2015, on a federal arrest warrant issued based on a criminal complaint filed by the FBI in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico. The criminal complaint charges Medina with kidnapping and transporting a minor in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.

According to the criminal complaint, on July 9, 2015, the victim’s mother filed a missing person’s report to the RRPD asserting that the victim had been taken from their home and was missing. The complaint alleges that after the mother learned that Medina and the victim had been communicating with each other without her knowledge, she forced the victim to terminate communications with Medina. The mother reported that on July 7, 2015, Medina allegedly called the victim and threatened to kidnap her and kill her mother if he was denied contact with the victim.

Thereafter, the RRPD’s investigation revealed that Medina allegedly took the victim to Denver, Colo., where they boarded a bus. On July 12, 2015, Medina was arrested on a New Mexico state warrant when Medina and the victim were found on a bus that had stopped in Indianapolis. The criminal complaint alleges that the victim told the Indiana State Police that Medina had taken her against her will.

During a July 13, 2015, interview with the FBI, the victim reiterated that Medina had taken her from outside of her home against her will on July 9, 2015. The victim also told the FBI that Medina took her from Albuquerque to Denver where they abandoned Medina’s car and boarded a bus. After departing Denver, Medina and the victim allegedly traveled on a series of buses until they were stopped in Indianapolis.

If convicted on the kidnapping charge, Medina faces a statutory maximum penalty of life in prison. If convicted for transporting a minor in interstate commerce to engage in sexual activity, Medina faces a mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The U.S. Marshals Service is in the process of transporting Medina to New Mexico.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Rio Rancho Police Department, Corrales Police Department, and Denver Police Department with assistance from the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Indiana State Police and the FBI in Indianapolis. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Mease is prosecuting the case.

The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.

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